Meet @UofSHealthPsych: Interview with Elle DiLorenzo

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Elle DiLorenzo is a sophomore psychology major, completing her first year of work as a research assistant. She was interviewed by senior Sabrina DiBisceglie.

ElleUofSHealthPsych: Where are you from, and what drew you to the University of Scranton?

ED: I’m from Valley Stream, New York, which is town on Long Island. I wasn’t interested in Scranton at first because so many people from my high school were planning on coming here. My friends encouraged me to look here anyway, and once I stepped on campus, I fell in love with the academics and the atmosphere. I guess I just got a feeling that this school was the right place for me.

UofSHealthPsych: Why did you choose to be a psychology major?

ED: Initially I was a biology major on the pre-med track, but I wasn’t inspired by what I was learning or by what my future looked like. I knew I was interested in medical settings but I wasn’t really sure where I belonged in that environment. After consulting with different professors and people in my life I recognized that I could work in and study the medical field with psychology. I decided to take and introductory course and I immediately knew that I wanted to be involved with psychology for the rest of my life. Psychology sparked inspiration in me, so I decided to declare it as my major and I haven’t regretted it. I still have a biology minor.

UofSHealthPsych: What activities are you involved with on campus, besides research?

ED: I am the future President (current Vice President) of S.A.F.E Space, which is a club focused on equality, charity, advocacy, and education particularly in the LGBTQ+ community. I am also the future Secretary of the Psychology Club here on campus. Other than that I am a teaching assistant for Abnormal Psychology and I am a part of the Honors Program.

UofSHealthPsych: How did you decide to join the Clinical Health Psychology Research Team?

ED: I took Abnormal Psychology as a first semester sophomore, which at the time was taught by Dr. Arigo. One day I went to her office and we began to discuss the work that her lab did and how my interests aligned with the field of Clinical Health Psychology.  For the rest of that semester I sat in on lab meetings to learn as much as I could about the lab. Eventually I made the decision to join because I was particularly interested in the upcoming research that was being done by a senior and really wanted to be a part of it.

UofSHealthPsych: Can you tell us a little bit more about your individual research interests and the projects you’ve worked on?

ED: I am interested in chronic pain and how physicians’, family members’, and friends’ perceptions of the pain affect the person suffering from pain, psychologically and physiologically.  I am also currently working on a few different studies involving fitspiration, physical activity, and social comparison.

UofSHealthPsych: What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from doing research with the team?

ED: I think the most valuable lesson I learned was to enjoy the process of doing research. When I first started I was really fixated on final results and implications of the research I was doing and I didn’t value the journey. Throughout the year I would talk to other lab members, especially Kristen Pasko, and through talking to them (as well as to Dr. Arigo) I have learned how important the learning process is.

UofSHealthPsych: What is your favorite memory of working with this research team?

ED: My favorite memory of working in the lab is when I was able to present at Student Scholar Day with all of the other members. It was a really amazing experience and I learned a lot about what it’s like to present a poster at a conference. Also everyone in the lab was really supportive and encouraging so I also really enjoyed that.

UofSHealthPsych: What have you enjoyed most about working on a research team?

ED: I have enjoyed working on the fitspiration studies the most for many reasons. Initially I wasn’t sure I would be able to help, but I had so many opportunities to be involved with the fitspiration studies in particular. Not only was I able to learn all about the research methodology, but also I developed an interest in social media and physical activity which I did not initially having coming into the lab. I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn and expand my interests.

UofSHealthPsych: Was your experience with the research lab what you thought it would be?

ED: My experience in lab was different than I thought it would be, but in the best way.  I think coming into the lab I was really concerned that I would unable to help anyone because I had no prior experience. Now I realize that I had a misconception of how a lab actually runs. The lab really focuses on helping everyone out so I always had something to do and the members were always willing to guide me if I was ever confused. Overall I learned much more than I expected to.

UofSHealthPsych: Is there any advice you would give an underclassmen interested in psychology research?

ED: I would advise underclassmen to communicate with any professor they are interested in working with. I was initially too intimidated to speak up, but when I finally did I got an amazing opportunity. Most professors are willing to help you as long as you show them that you are motivated, interested, and hardworking.

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The University of Scranton’s 2018 Celebration of Student Scholars (Student Research Day)

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The University of Scranton’s annual Celebration of Student Scholars (aka Scholar Day) is a three-hour poster session featuring research by University students and faculty. This year, we presented two posters: a systematic review of social comparison features in mobile apps that promote physical activity (Arigo, Pasko, Plantier, and Montalbano), and an empirical study of #fitspiration posters and followers’ perceptions (DiBisceglie, DiLorenzo, Pasko, and Arigo). Here, our student presenters reflect on their experience of the 2018 event.

Madison Montalbano, junior, on her first poster experience

scholarday2018.4Student Scholar Day was a wonderful learning experience for me. I’ve never presented a poster before and I was grateful for the opportunity. Explaining the research and discussing it with professors and fellow students was a great way to prepare for future conferences I may attend. The I enjoyed the supportive nature of the environment. The students presenting posters were friendly and seemed excited both to talk about their research and hear about what I was presenting. Overall, I was happy to present the poster and practice conveying the research in an engaging way.

Elle DiLorenzo, sophomore, on her first poster experience

Student Scholar Day was a unique and wonderful learning experience for me.  I have never presented a poster before scholar day, and I am grateful I got to have the experience early in my undergraduate career.  I was able to present findings in a scholarly way to a variety of people who all had different of understandings of psychology and #fitspiration.  I learned to adjust how I described the study based on who I spoke to (and their familiarity with psychology research/fitspiration), and to try to relate what was being said and asked back to the results and implications of the research. Everyone was supportive, so that allowed me to feel comfortable and to get a lot out of the experience. I am happy I was able to present at Scholar Day before going to a conference, because it gave me a preview of what a conference could be like.  Overall I think the event allowed me to become more comfortable with presenting research and believing that I know what I am talking about, even if the poster isn’t about my own independent project. Scholar Day is a wonderful way to engage students and professors in intellectually stimulating conversations and presentations about the research taking place at Scranton.

scholarday2018.3Nicole Plantier, graduating senior, on her second Celebration of Student Scholars event

Although I presented at a regional professional conference earlier this year, this was my first time presenting at Scholar Day, and it was a great experience. I am grateful for the opportunity to present my research findings to members of the University community. Students and faculty showed interest in my research posters (one with (UofSHealthPsych and one with another lab), and answering questions and interacting with individuals from other fields was enjoyable. Also, seeing the work my fellow classmates have been doing was great. I’m often so consumed with my psychology research, I forget that departments across the University are actively engaged in research as well. Overall, the experience of assisting with poster-making and presenting was rewarding.

Sabrina DiBisceglie, graduating senior, on her second Celebration of Student Scholars event

scholarday2018.2This Student Scholar Day was a different experience than the past Scholar Day that I attended (2017). Lat year, I assisted a senior student with creating and presenting a poster on a secondary analysis project. This year, I presented my independent research, which was supported by a Presidential Summer Fellowship in 2017. I was proud to present the research that I have been working on for a year and was glad to see people interested in my research. I also found it fulfilling to take a leadership role in assisting other lab members with their first time presenting a poster. This event is a great tool to prepare students for future professional poster sessions. This experience allowed me to become more comfortable with presenting my research and I feel well prepared to present at a professional conference later this month.

Read and see more about the 2018 event here. For our reflection on last year’s event, see here.